Parents want to talk about their kids. ( I offer this blog as exhibit A.) It’s probably the single biggest reason we so often drift away from our childless friends who, after all, have interests that encompass world events, social networks, work, travel and relationships. We gravitate to other parents with whom we can feign interest in one another’s boring kid stories until it’s our turn to talk. Stop it; you know it’s true. Our social networks are determined by our child’s grade and extracurricular activities; work is what gets us away from the kids for short spells but too often at all the wrong times; travel. Hmm. Never mind. Relationships morph subtly into regular staff meetings.
That “darnedest thing” our six-year-old came out with the other day is probably the funniest damn thing that’s happened all week, so it’s no wonder this is what we bring to the table.
We don’t waste a lot of time waiting for our openings, either; we get to be very adept at creating our opportunities to share. “NASDAQ traded down another 2% today? Oh my god, that reminds me…” and we’re off, enthusiastically recounting with an attention to detail rivalled only by a few African oral traditions.
Add into the mix a particularly gifted child (or a particularly delusional parent, your choice) and before you know it, everyone at the table is riveted by talk of incompetent coaches, the Suzuki Method and/or the effects of stress on young bones. It’s enough to strike Bill O’Reilly dumb. But even these folks are rank amateurs alongside the parent of an ADHD kid. We don’t require any opening. We’re accustomed to talking to someone who isn’t listening. We spend an extraordinary amount of time around someone who doesn’t know from social cues, and we really, really need to talk to grownups from time to time, so guess what? There is no stopping us. The reason for this is pretty straightforward: aside from driving us slowly bonkers, the stuff our kids do is pretty damn funny and makes for great material as in “you think I could make this stuff up?”
Yes, yes, your child just placed second in the gymnastics sectional, but did she ever put a pull-up on over her head, strip to her underwear and bolt down the block to show off the new Spartan warrior costume? Didn’t think so. Your son just brought home a prize for essay writing? That’s wonderful. Mine can recite all the dialog from the entire first half of “Clone Wars”. With sound effects. At the dinner table. Every night.
My son’s quirks produce similarly off-beat retribution from little sister. “I’m warning you boys to leave her alone before…” “EEEEEEEEEE!! AHHHHH! HELP!” This from two panicked ADHD boys in flight from little sister, who is driving them remorselessly from room to room, a look of grim satisfaction on her face, walking backwards, wagging her bare behind and chanting all the while “stupid boys. Stupid boys…”
Yeah, it’s not like it’s a competition.